Strategic Housing Improvement Plan Table 1: Fully Completed Tasks Line Audit Commission Recommendation Action By When 1 1) Develop CBC-specific policies & a) Carry out Completed by officers plans to implement sub-regional Homelessness Review in August 2008 and strategies and meet local need & Strategy approved by Council in September 2008. 2 b) Review allocations Reported to Strategic scheme & housing Housing Panel in April register 2009. Recommended to Executive in July 2009. 3 2) Improve relationships with partner a) establish Copeland Formal nominations organisations to help achieve strategic Homes/Home Group agreement signed by housing objectives, including new liaison to: negotiate June 2009. CBC and provision. formal nomination Home Housing Group arrangements: explore (inc Copeland Homes) affordable housing are members of the opportunities: develop Cumbria Choice Based choice based lettings Lettings project team with a projected “go live” date of October 2010. Liaison with Home Group and other RSLs in the Borough is well established and schemes have been completed, are under construction or planned. 4 b) Participate fully in Ongoing participation West Cumbria and achieved throughout Cumbria wide housing 2008/09 forums. 5 c) Develop private Landlords forum held 6 landlords forum March 2009. To be held 6 monthly. 6 d) Improve liaison with Throughout 2008/09 Supporting People CBC has been fully Team and Primary Care represented on all Trust Supporting People bodies. The PCT is a member of the commissioning body – CBC is represented by the Housing Manager & Portfolio Holder 7 3) Implement systems & structures to a) create new staffing New staff in post by ensure the Council is carrying structure: train staff in end October 2008. statutory duties in the private sector HHSRS. Take Training completed under the Housing Act, 2004. consistent enforcement over following 6 action. months. 8 b) Develop effective Licensing scheme HMO licensing scheme established and 2 HMOs licensed. 9 4) Update financial assistance policies Assess and update as New financial to strategically target private sector part of private sector assistance policy agreed renewal on housing and wider strategy review. by Council in regeneration objectives Targets revealed by December 2008 and private sector stock implemented from condition survey of April 2009. Takes 2007. account of private sector stock condition survey of 2007. 10 5) Take a client role in the delivery of a) Review provision as Completed July/August housing advice provision in the part of homelessness 2008 Borough strategy review. 11 b) Negotiate service Completed by April level agreements with 2009 funded bodies 12 c) Review ability of Review completed with other CBC services to Benefits in winter 2009 contribute to improved and agreement signed advice co-ordination off in June 2009. 13 d) Improve advice Suite of housing advice leaflets, website and leaflets published other information January 2009. New sources. Provide better housing element on information and advice website completed on rehousing prospects before April 2009. 14 6) Develop systems & structures to a) Review approach in Copeland was the first move towards a proactive light of Homelessness LA in Cumbria to homelessness prevention approach: Review & achieve the 50% reduce the use of temporary Homelessness Strategy reduction in the use of accommodation to achieve the gov’t Action Plan of temporary target of 50% by 2010 from the 2008/2013 accommodation (by end baseline number at 31/12/2004. 2008). A homelessness prevention toolkit was introduced in 2008 and DCLG funding has contributed towards prevention initiatives. Discretionary Housing Payments have also been used to prevent or mitigate homelessness. In the 6 months ending April 2009 housing advice interventions have prevented 87 cases of homelessness and helped 85 others to find alternative housing. 15 7) Review Housing Team’s structure a) New staffing However, recruitment & resources & develop a permanent structure approved in and arrival in post of all establishment capable of meeting the spring 2008 for both new staff not achieved Council’s statutory requirements, Homelessness/Housing until end October 2008. developing and implementing housing Options and Private strategies to meet local need and Sector Renewal. deliver services to an acceptable standard. 16 Develop a consistent corporate a) CBC approach to Strategic Housing Panel approach to the management of complaints has been began to receive reports complaints, including reporting to reviewed and changes of complaints January Councillors about learning from introduced with effect 2009 (when their them. from April 2009. outcome is known). 17 Develop & display a comprehensive Suite of customer Series of leaflets on range of housing leaflets leaflets advice & homelessness, housing information leaflets to advice and housing be published. options published in January 2009. 18 Develop clear service standards in Housing service Following housing, which are well publicised and standards to be consultation, including against which performance is developed which will with customers, service monitored. explain the service standards were provided, how to access determined and agreed the service, the by Strategic Housing standards pertaining and Panel in March 2009. how they will be Subsequently published monitored and in leaflet form and now complaints dealt with. appearing on website. 19 Ensure corporate systems for dealing Housing Services to With the introduction of with key issues, such as budget setting adhere to annual budget the Capital Monitoring and financial management, service building process and Group from July 2009, planning and appraisals are adhered monthly budget Housing will be to in each service area and that robust monitoring & represented at revenue monitoring and management takes management budget & capital place at the corporate centre to programme monitoring. prevent non-compliance Housing also participated in the budget building round held in 2008/09 for 2009/10 and will participate in the next and subsequent rounds. This cell does not refer to other services. 20 Improve relationships between Establish corporate Strategic Housing Panel departments to exploit opportunities working group to of Councillors for joined up working and make best support implementation established in Spring use of expertise outside the housing of this plan. Include 2008 but has been team to deliver housing objectives housing priorities in supported almost only service plans of relevant by housing staff. internal services. Corporate officers attendance reinstated in July 2009. Housing priorities included in Development Strategy Service Plan. But see line 4 of table 2. 21 Improve value for money and Implement effective The Trusteel contract performance management procurement of all completed in February commissioned services 2009 was subjected to and products including effective client a robust client role in management contract management throughout. Effective procurement of the Kells Environmental Improvement Scheme was achieved by February 2009 and there is a strong client role in ongoing management of that contract. This also applied to Phase 1 of the Woodhouse Evolution project in 2008/09 22 Develop a clear corporate approach to Ensure that Language CBC bought fully into translation which meets local needs Line translation service the Language Line is available at reception service in July 09. We and to customer-serving have an account and are staff in all departments able to go live on its use. It is a risk to describe this as complete until all teams have been trained in usage – by end Oct 09. 23 Develop CBC specific policies & plans Produce CBC-specific Draft to Strategic to implement sub-regional strategies comprehensive action Housing Panel in and meet local need plan to implement August 09 and out for Cumbria Housing consultation with return Strategy, 2009/2011 in date in September 09 the Borough. Table 2: Partially Completed Tasks Line Audit Commission Recommendation Action By When number 1 Develop older persons Substantial progress strategy made but further consultation necessary with partner agencies in the public & voluntary sector. To be completed & reported to Strategic Housing Panel by end October 2009. 2 Developprivate sector To be completed by end strategy to comply with August 2009. Housing Act, 2004 3 Improve relationships between a) Develop service level SLA signed off with departments to exploit opportunities agreements (SLAs) with Benefits in June 2009 for joined up working and make best internal services but in practice was use of expertise outside the housing developed 6 months team to deliver housing objectives earlier. SLAs to be completed with Environmental Health and legal Services by end September 2009. 4 Report regularly to the Executive Progress to be reported While monthly reports and corporate team on performance to Executive and have been made to against the service/improvement plan Corporate Team on a Strategic Housing Panel and against a full set of performance monthly basis, including for the last twelve and cost indicators in housing until spend against budgets months, reports to the service has been reinspected and key performance Executive and Corporate indicators. Team have been sporadic, and excluded cost indicators. This to be corrected by end August 2009. Ensure the new corporate access See below See below strategy is robust enough to manage access to housing services and to develop a strategic corporate approach to customer care by addressing key issues 5 Develop a fully interactive corporate Housing pages on Housing pages almost website corporate website to be up to date and will be reviewed and updated completed by end July with all new policies, 2009. Corporate strategies and interactive website yet information. to be introduced. 6 Develop transactional customer Customer satisfaction Private sector housing satisfaction surveys following key surveys to be developed surveys introduced & be housing processes and report to for private sector reported to August Councillors on lessons learned. housing renewal and 2009meeting of homelessness/housing Strategic Housing Panel. options functions. Homelessness/Housing Options surveys to be introduced August 2009. 7 Further develop/implement existing a) Develop and maintain The current work done equality and diversity policies a thorough corporate on the draft older understanding of the persons strategy and profile and needs of anti-fuel poverty local people through strategy is not enough to liaison with meet the requirements of representative this recommendation. community The gap to be addressed organisations and robust by end September 2009. research. 8 Carry out and act on the findings of a) Develop equality Initial equality impact equality impact assessments in impact assessments and assessments done for housing act on findings. private sector renewal & b) Review existing homelessness/housing research data to profile options. Actions a) & b) differing housing needs to be completed with across Borough. action plan by end Examine needs of September 09 specific groups such as gypsies & travellers, where Cumbria wide research is available. 9 Improve value for money and Review existing Partnership performance management partnership arrangements with RSLs arrangements to and others have been improve value for reviewed to ensure they money. deliver service outcomes but value for money has not been specifically addressed. 10 Develop effective CBC to join purchasing procurement practices consortium in order to for private sector obtain discounts for renewal & improvement DFG works & services. works, including To join by end partnerships. September 2009. 11 Develop a consistent corporate Housing staff to be A training proposal has approach to the management of trained on using been received. To be complaints complaints as a learning delivered by end & improvement September 2009 opportunity. 12 Improve value for money and Tracking, benchmarking A proposal has been performance management & reporting to staff & accepted from Councillors on corporate consultants to undertake & service costs this work in a timeline of 20 days so will be completed before re- inspection in Sept/October. 13 Develop a clear corporate approach Use of telephone To be introduced by to translation which meets local interpretation offered in mid-October 2009 needs. all leaflets and decision letters Table 3: uncompleted tasks Line Audit Commission Recommendation Action Comments 1 Further develop and implement Understand the housing Research has been done existing equality & diversity policies needs of migrant in the County, which we workers will obtain by end Aug 09. 2 Carry out and act on the findings of a) Liaise & consult with To be undertaken by end equality impact assessments representative September 2009 community groups b) Reflect diversity To be undertaken after issues in procurement community liaison tenders & contracts 3 Improve relations with partner Develop private Landlords attending the organisations to help achieve landlord accreditation forum in March 2009 strategic housing objectives scheme showed no willingness to join such a scheme: to be raised again at next forum in October 2009.
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